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Best album of 1994 | The rest of the Best of 1994
OUTKAST, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, LaFace
The breakout stars of LaFace's Family Christmas album last November, Outkast drop their debut with designs on more than just regular holiday rotation. That shouldn't be a problem, as Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik is 17 tracks and more than 64 minutes of southern-style funk that is sure to put Atlanta more prominently on the hip-hop map. The track from the Christmas album, "Player's Ball," returns, but slightly modified. It's funny how taking out a few assorted holiday references (creatively deleted as if they were curses on a radio version) makes a song seem that much harder. Andre and Big Boi complement each other perfectly over the Organized Noize-produced tracks, trading verses with a southern flavor on cuts like "Ain't No Thang" while giving props to Atlanta's neighborhoods. "Call of the Wild" features the Goodie Mob, and no one heeds that call more than Khujo, a mix of RBX and Busta Rhymes talking about Parkay, biscuits and your brain on drugs. "Funky Ride" sounds like it was dropped off by the mothership and somehow found its way to Outkast. Going outside the box, Andre and Big Boi don't appear at all. The ride is still enjoyable -- maybe the most for the girl at the end of the song -- but it serves as a fitting intermission before the second half of the album kicks in. Southern's not all playalistic, though. A cut like "Crumblin' Erb" you might think is just another song to blaze to, but it's not. Outkast switches it up on "Git Up, Git Out," suggesting that you "don't spend all your time trying to get high." A reprise of "Player's Ball" closes the album and adds a touch more singing, one final, fitting reminder that Outkast will twist hip-hop on you and open your mind to artists other than those who live next to an ocean.
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Mason Storm

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